PAWS lends helping hand to Cayman’s canines

| 28/11/2016
CNS Local Life

PAWS volunteers soap a lucky canine at the East End dog wash

(CNS Local Life): The Protection of Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) recently held a free community dog wash at the Heritage Field in East End. PAWS, which was founded in 2010 by Giuseppe and Susanna Gatta, Alex Stewart and Marleine Gagnon, is a local non-profit that works to alleviate the suffering of animals in need, particularly in the eastern districts.

Gatta explained that the organisation’s community dog washes aim to do more than get local dogs clean. “Each dog that comes to the dog wash is registered with PAWS so that we can follow up with any medical or financial assistance that may be necessary to ensure the animal’s health and wellbeing,” he said.

A total of 38 dogs were bathed and registered with PAWS at the East End community dog wash.

Another important component of the PAWS community dog washes is education. Gatta explained that a lot of pet owners are unaware of how disastrous parasites like heartworms, fleas and ticks can be to a dog’s health if left untreated.

“Inevitably there are dogs brought to the washes that are showing symptoms of heartworm, or that are covered in fleas and ticks,” he said. “We work to explain the health consequences of these parasites to the owners and assist them with a treatment plan, if we are able.”

The dog wash also resulted in the rescue of four puppies who were in desperate need of medical attention, and the reporting of one animal welfare case to the Department of Agriculture.

Gatta thanked St Matthew’s University assistant dean of student affairs Dr Samantha Shields and the many veterinary students who took time off from studying to volunteer for the dog wash.

“Having a veterinarian and the veterinary students on hand at the dog washes is such a blessing,” he said. “They are always on the lookout for signs of more serious medical issues in the dogs and are able to advise us if we need to intervene for the welfare of the animal.”

Gatta also thanked Heidi and Mark Thompson, who donated a handmade doghouse to PAWS. The doghouse, which was made entirely from recycled wood, was immediately delivered to a family who were in need of a shelter for their dog.

“We really appreciate this donation and the hard work that went into making the doghouse,” Gatta said.

Community dog washes are one of a variety of PAWS’ charitable initiatives which include a spay-and-neuter programme, financial assistance for families with pets in need, heartworm treatment, animal rescue and feral cat shelters. PAWS also has a number of dogs who are available for adoption.

To learn more about the organisation and to view photos of animals who need homes, visit the PAWS Cayman Facebook page

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Category: Community, Service Organisations

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